13 sept 2018

this is a dream i revisit more frequently than any of the others by far. usually, my dreams take place in one of three settings: my grandparents' old house with the canal in the backyard (i spent every weekend there up until they moved into assisted living), my now-burned-down childhood home in rural █████ ████, or a house (which i solely refer to as "the blue house") that i lived in for about 10 months in fourth grade. this one still stands out to me because, for one, the house in which this dream took place is nothing remotely like any house i have ever stepped foot in. the walls were bleach-white, and it seemed every square inch of it was touched softly by sunlight (despite my having no recollection of any windows). the floors were mostly a white-gray marble, and the decor here resembled something you may find in a roaring-20's mansion: intricate hand-carved wood holding up every table and nightstand; velvet-backed chairs with clawed feet; even crystal doorknobs. who the hell has seen a crystal doorknob in the 21st century!

anyway - i tend to get caught up in the interior design of dreams - this was my house, and i was tidying up because a very pushy boy kept texting me insisting he come over. i entered what i can only describe as an "entertainment room", because it was huge and had no clear purpose (only a rich motherfucker would have a huge room with no clear purpose and call it an "entertainment room"), and i suddenly remembered that i happened to own a formidably-sized burmese python named cooper. however, where his enclosure would normally be, i found a wire bird cage in its place. and what sat inside the cage struck me with this indescribable awe and... love.

it was an owl, with a young and gentle face and ink-stained feathers. it sat perched there and stared at me through the open door of the cage, and though i'd never seen it before, i had the sense that it trusted me. i inched slowly, carefully toward it; reached out to touch it. it lowered its head in quiet acceptance. the meeting of my hand and its silky down was so overwhelming i had the urge to cry - i couldn't believe this beautiful creature allowed me to come near it, welcomed my presence so willingly. it felt like it had just weighed my soul.

but at that moment, i noticed something stirring in the bottom of the bird cage, under a layer of bedding. it was cooper. i knew that he shouldn't be here, but i didn't know how to remove the owl from the cage; i turned back for a split second, looking for a stick or something to lure it out - and right then i heard the sound of flapping wings. in the moment it took to whip my head back around, cooper had launched himself out of the cage and caught the owl in mid-air like some sick hyperreal national geographic program and they both slammed to the floor, cooper's body already coiling tight around the owl as it flailed awkwardly - hopelessly.

i screamed - "you're killing it!" - and lunged at cooper with an iron fire poker. it took only one strike to the head for his muscles to go limp, and then a stark, terrifying silence fell on the room and my stomach went hollow. i pulled at the snake's slick corpse in panicked search of feathers, of movement - please - please - until finally i uncoiled the bird's crooked neck.

it was already dead.

and so i knelt there weak on the marble floor, cradling the small and quiet thing in my arms, sobbing into its feathers.